Professor, economist and Bangladeshi banker, creator of micro-credit.
Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace prize winner (it should be noted that he was awarded the Nobel Peace prize, instead of a more convenient and less impactful Nobel Economics prize), was born in Bangladesh in 1940 and, thanks to a Fulbright scholarship, he was able to study and work as a professor in the United States.
In 1971 his country‘s independence motivated him to return to Bangladesh, one of the poorest and most populated countries in the world.
As the national director of the Department of Rural Economy,a position that he occupied until 1989, he became aware of the structural problems of Bangladesh.
The extreme poverty of the rural population of Bangladesh inspired his idea: to overcome the poverty of those who could not access conventional credit by providing what he called microcredits, credits that did not require guarantees so that the neediest could launch independent or entrepreneurial initiatives.
The concept of micro-credit motivated him to found, after overcoming the enormous resistance of the banking entities, the Grameen Bank, or rural bank, that in 1983 was established as an autonomous bank.
Since then, the Grameen Bank, known as “the bank of the poor”, has granted micro-credits to three and a half million people, mostly women, who are simultaneously owners of the bank thanks to its cooperative character.
The women, described as supportive and responsible, access banking products by forming groups of five or more. They are able to pay back 9 of every 10 small loans granted. According to Muhammad Yunus, “when a woman obtains payment for her activity, those who benefit first are her own children.”
- More information on Muhammad Yunus, in Wikipedia.